TORONTO—Ford Motor Co. and South Korea-based Samsung SDI Co., Ltd. have unveiled a new battery system they claims could one day lead to regenerative braking technology making its way into non-hybrid vehicles.
The two firms pulled the cover off their jointly developed dual-battery system after 10 years of research, showcasing what could be the future of gas-powered automotive efficiency.
Combining a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery with a traditional 12-volt lead-acid battery, the duo’s new system could provide regenerative energy capture—currently available in most hybrid vehicles—to the non-hybrid market.
“This dual-battery system has the potential to bring even more levels of hybridization to our vehicles for greater energy savings across the board,” Ford’s senior manager of energy storage strategy and research Ted Miller said in a statement.
“Although still in research, this type of battery could provide a near-term solution for greater reduction of carbon dioxide (emissions).”
Ford said regenerative braking, currently available in its lineup of hybrids, allows the battery to capture as much as 95 per cent of the electrical energy typically lost during braking.
The energy captured by regenerative braking systems in hybrid vehicles is later used to power the electric motor.
Ford and Samsung did not say how the stored electric energy would be used in a gas-powered engine.
The two companies also announced they are researching an “ultra-lightweight” Li-ion battery that could one day supplant traditional lead-acid automotive batteries.
“Lithium-ion batteries are typically used in consumer electronics because they are lighter and more energy-dense than other types of batteries, which also make them ideal for the vehicle,” said Mike O’Sullivan, vice-president of automotive battery systems for Samsung SDI North America.
“Battery technology is advancing rapidly and lithium-ion could one day completely replace traditional 12-volt lead-acid batteries, providing better fuel efficiency for drivers.”
Li-ion batteries currently used in Ford’s electrified vehicles are 25 to 30 per cent smaller than previous hybrid batteries made of nickel-metal-hydride, and offer approximately three times the power per cell.
The ultra-lightweight battery concept would weigh roughly 40 per cent, or 12 lbs., less than current hybrid automotive batteries, according to Samsung and Ford.
Advancements in automotive battery technology have been a hot topic this week after Alcoa Ltd. and Phinergy announced a new aluminum-air battery for electric vehicles that can extend driving range by as much as 1,600 kilometres.